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“Who’s in Charge Here?” Recalls and Internal Turnover

You have a recall plan in place. You update it regularly. And while you hope you won’t have to use it anytime soon, that day arrives anyway. Good thing you’re ready. Except you realize one or more of your internal team members who were assigned to these tasks have retired, moved away, or otherwise left the company. Now what?

If that sounds familiar – or sounds like something that could happen to your company – you’re not alone. According to ADP Research Institute, the job turnover ratio in Q4 2016 was 26.1 percent. With statistics like that, what can companies do to ensure they’re prepared no matter how much change they experience?

  • Document the details. When it comes to recall planning, a basic outline won’t cut it. Recall plans should be robust – and they should be tested with regular mock recalls so any adjustments can be made. With a clear blueprint in place, new employees will be better able to hit the ground running.
  • Train for the transitions. The role responsible for recalls when they occur undoubtedly has many other duties as well. When a new person takes over the position, it can be easy to overlook that aspect of training. Create a transition plan in advance and include recall execution in those procedures, and you won’t miss a beat.
  • Divide and conquer. Most recalls can’t be managed by just a handful of individuals. Divide up the internal tasks and assign them to a wide range of staff members. In addition to making recall management more effective, this will reduce the impact when one person leaves.
  • Build in redundancies. Whenever possible, have a backup to key internal contacts, and ensure anyone on standby understands the role and the regulatory implications. This helps ensure a smoothly executed recall, not only if the employee in charge leaves the company, but also if that person happens to be on vacation, dealing with a family emergency, or otherwise unavailable.
  • Outsource, outsource, outsource. The more you can unload the burden of recall management onto a trusted partner, the less you will need to worry about internal resources when a recall does occur. Look at each step of the recall lifecycle, including notification and response management, product processing, and data management for regulatory reporting, and determine where you could use outside assistance.

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